Inside Topkapi Palace

Just outside the Topkapi Palace, before you enter it, you will see the fountain of Sultan Ahmet III - a beautiful baroque structure. On four sides of the fountain are four taps and at each corner a 'sebli' for distribution of water to thirsty travelers. You then enter the first portal or The Court of Murad II .On either side of this, is a tower called the Bab-i H'mayun. This portal was once guarded by special guards and it is said that sometimes severed heads of traitors were displayed here. This portal housed the several service buildings and administrative offices, the armory, and the Byzantine Samson Hospital.

Next to this, you will find the Hagia Eirene. This was one of the oldest churches of Constantinople. This church was once burnt down in the Nika Rebellion and then rebuilt by Justinian. After the conquest, it was used as the armory with a large collection of weapons. Ultimately, in the 19th century, it became the first Turkish military museum. The museum was later moved elsewhere and the Haghia Eirene has since become a concert hall.

From the church, you will go down the hill to the G'lhane Park or the former palace gardens. There is much to see here. At the entrance, you will find the Ceremonial Pavilion from where Mahmud II watched processions. As you go halfway down the hill you come to the Tiled Pavilion This was one of the finest buildings to be made by Mehmet II. The entire building is made of blue and turquoise tiles. Designed in the Seljuk Art form, it is striking in its effect. Today it is aptly converted into a ceramics museum where fine ceramics right from 12th century onwards are on display.

On your way, you can see another monument called the Gothic monument, so called because it was erected after a victory over the Goths. Near the water's edge is the International Press Center that was originally a pavilion for basket weavers.